Hyaluronic Acid: What is it? What is it for? Uses on the Lips and Nose, Side Effects and Mechanism of Action

It is a naturally occurring glycosaminoglycan found throughout the body’s connective tissue.

Hyaluronic acid, also known as hyaluronan, is a clear, sticky substance produced naturally by your body.

The most significant amounts are found in your skin, connective tissue, and eyes. Its primary function is to retain water to keep your tissues lubricated and moist.

Hyaluronic acid has a variety of uses. Many people take it as a supplement, but it is also used in topical serums, eye drops, and injections.

What is hyaluronic acid for?

  • Anti-aging.
  • Moisturizer.
  • Anti arrugas.
  • Increases the elasticity of the skin.
  • It can treat eczema.
  • It can treat facial redness.

Hyaluronic acid plays a crucial role in wound healing. It is naturally present in the skin, but its concentrations increase when there is damage that needs repair.

This acid helps wounds heal faster by regulating levels of inflammation and by signaling the body to build more blood vessels in the damaged area.

It can bind up to 1000 times its weight in water. In other words, it works as a moisturizer and contains water molecules on the surface of the skin to keep it nice and hydrated. Whenever we talk about well-hydrated skin, we are mainly referring to skin that has high water content.


Other benefits

Relieves joint pain by keeping bones well lubricated

Hyaluronic acid is also found in the joints, where it keeps the space between the bones well lubricated. When the joints are lubricated, the bones are less likely to frustrate each other and cause uncomfortable pain.

Hyaluronic acid supplements are beneficial for people suffering from osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease caused by wear and tear on the joints over time.

As antibacterial

It also has antibacterial properties, so it can help reduce the risk of infection when applied directly to open wounds. Additionally, it effectively fights gum disease, speeds healing after dental surgery, and eliminates ulcers when used topically in the mouth.

Soothe acid reflux symptoms

New research shows that hyaluronic acid supplements can help reduce acid reflux symptoms. When acid reflux occurs, stomach contents regurgitate into the throat, causing pain and damage to the esophagus lining.

Hyaluronic acid can help calm the damaged lining of the esophagus and speed up the recovery process.

Relieve dry eye and discomfort

About 1 in 7 older adults suffer from dry eye symptoms due to reduced tear production or excessive evaporation of tears. Since hyaluronic acid is excellent at retaining moisture, it is often used to treat dry eyes.

Could prevent bladder pain

About 3-6% of women suffer from interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome. This disorder causes abdominal pain and tenderness, along with a solid and frequent urge to urinate.

Although the causes of interstitial cystitis are unknown, hyaluronic acid has been found to help relieve pain and urinary frequency associated with this condition when inserted directly into the bladder through a catheter.

It’s not clear why hyaluronic acid helps relieve these symptoms, but researchers hypothesize that it helps repair damage to bladder tissue, making it less sensitive to pain.


Injecting hyaluronic acid into the eye is effective when used by an eye surgeon during cataract surgery.

Mouth sores

Hyaluronic acid effectively treats mouth sores when applied to the skin as a gel.

Skin aging

Some research suggests that injecting a specific hyaluronic acid product (Juvéderm Ultra Plus, Allergan) into smile lines reduces the lines for up to a year.


Hyaluronic acid can be effective for joint stiffness and pain when injected into the joint by a healthcare professional.

Despite being approved by the FDA for treating osteoarthritis by injection, results vary.

Some people report moderate improvement in joint stiffness and decreased pain with hyaluronic acid treatment, but this is not always the case.

It is not known whether hyaluronic acid can delay or decrease progressive joint damage with long-term use.

Trauma to the eyes

Research suggests that hyaluronic acid could be injected into the eye to treat a detached retina or other eye injuries.

Scars from wounds and burns on the skin

Early research suggests that applying hyaluronic acid to the skin could help treat skin burns and wounds.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid for these uses.

Hyaluronic acid in the nose

Hyaluronic acid gel injection is a valuable tool for nasal reshaping. It can also be used to correct minor post-rhinoplasty defects in appropriate patients.

Rhinoplasty was the fifth most common surgical procedure in 2013. Although most patients request a nasal reduction, rhinoplasty often involves reshaping rather than reduction.

Because the nasal skin has a limited ability to contract, especially at the tip, and if the skin is thick, nasal reshaping and augmentation may be preferable from an aesthetic point of view.

Enhancing parts of the nose can make it feel smaller.

Despite the challenge of explaining to patients seeking nasal reduction that they would benefit from enhancing parts of the nose, plastic surgeons should be aware of this effect.

Nasal remodeling can be accomplished with injectables such as calcium hydroxyapatite.

Injectables are attractive because patients generally prefer minimally invasive non-surgical procedures over invasive surgical procedures.

Non-surgical procedures accounted for 80% of all cosmetic procedures in the United States in 2013.

The hyaluronic acid injection is a valuable tool for minimally invasive nasal reshaping and has the advantage of being reversible with hyaluronidase.

However, retreatment may be necessary to maintain the desired cosmetic correction because hyaluronic acid degrades.

The efficacy and safety of hyaluronic acid have been established for facial cosmetic indications, but information on nasal treatments is somewhat limited.

Hyaluronic acid on the lips

Today quite a few women want to enhance their lips, but at the same time want to avoid the dreaded “duck lips.”

«For the lips, the best are hyaluronic materials. The other fillers can cause lumps on the lips, “says facial plastic surgeon Andrew Jacono of Great Neck, NY.

Used off-label for years to plump lips, hyaluronic acid filler received FDA approval in October for that exact purpose and is now used by doctors for the natural appearance it gives to the lips.

But even though lips can look completely natural with a filler, there still has to be a delicate touch for lip augmentation.

“It is essential for patients to find a qualified, board-certified dermatologist with considerable experience in the procedure. There is much art involved in lip augmentation, as the results should look good but not exaggerated, “says Newton, MA dermatologist Madeline C. Krauss, MD.

Side effects

Hyaluronic acid is generally safe to use, with few reported side effects.

Since the body produces it naturally, allergic reactions are infrequent.

A study of 60 people with osteoarthritis who took 200 mg daily for a year reported no adverse side effects.

However, its effects during pregnancy or lactation have not been thoroughly studied, so these groups should be cautious and avoid supplementing.

There is also some evidence that cancer cells are sensitive to hyaluronic acid, and taking supplements could make them grow faster. For this reason, it is generally recommended that people with cancer or a history of cancer avoid supplementation.

Hyaluronic acid injections into the skin or joints have an increased risk of side effects. However, adverse reactions are primarily associated with the injection procedure rather than the hyaluronic acid.

Some varieties of hyaluronic acid are a bit controversial, and the increased levels are linked to inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis.

Mechanism of action of hyaluronic acid

The benefits of hyaluronic acid on the skin have to do with its molecular weight and concentration. Molecular weight refers to its mass, or how large the hyaluronic acid molecule is. This is measured in unified units of atomic mass: daltons (kDa).

According to the most recent human studies, hyaluronic acid between 50 and 1,000 kDa is the most beneficial for the skin, with approximately 130 kDa being the best.

Hyaluronic Acid Diameter

The diameter of the hyaluronic acid is also essential, as it also determines the ingredient’s ability to penetrate the skin. A recent study investigated the efficacy of a low molecular weight topical nanohyaluroid acid and found smaller substances below 500 kDa:

  • Changed the depth of the wrinkles.
  • Increased moisture.
  • Increased elasticity around the eye.
  • Better absorbed by the skin.

Larger molecules with a molecular weight greater than 500 kDa had difficulty passing through the skin barrier.

 What products should you use?

There are skincare products that take all the guesswork out by combining various hyaluronic acid molecules for maximum effectiveness. It’s like a party packed with hyaluronic acid-and goodness.

Hyaluronic acid ingredients to look for:

  • Hyaluronic acid hydrolyzate.
  • Acetylated sodium hyaluronate.
  • Sodium hyaluronate.